The Italian coach, now taking the reins at Bayern Munich, worked with the former Tottenham midfielder during a successful two-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti refuses to be drawn on a starting XI of the greatest players he has ever worked with but says that Real Madrid’s Luka Modric is “one of the best midfield players in the world”.
The Italian boasts an enviable coaching CV, having spent over 20 years in the dugout of some of Europe’s top clubs.
After proving his worth on the sidelines during spells with Reggiana and Parma, Ancelotti has gone on to spend time at Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
He has lifted league titles in Italy, England and France, while adding Champions League crowns with Milan and Los Blancos to the European Cup triumphs that he enjoyed as a player.
Having spent so long working alongside the global elite, Ancelotti admits that attempting to select just 11 players that he considers to have been the very best is an almost impossible task.
He told Jutarnji List: “I will never select a best XI made up of players I’ve coached. If we start with goalkeepers, I already can’t decide, because I’ve had in my teams [Gianlugi] Buffon, [Edwin] van der Sar, [Iker] Casillas, [Manuel] Neuer… I could never pick one that is the best. The same goes with other positions.”
Ancelotti did, however, reserve special praise for a player whom he spent two years coaching in Spain.
Croatia international Modric was an important cog in a well-oiled Real Madrid machine as they toasted their Champions League ‘La Decima’ success in 2014.
Already widely regarded as one of the finest playmakers on the planet, the former Tottenham midfielder left a lasting impression on Ancelotti with his fantastic ability and endearing personality.
“I can only tell you Luka Modric is definitely one of best midfield players in the world,” he enthused.
“He has great technical abilities, reads the game and has a strong personality that he has built over the years. Besides that, he is a very pleasant person.”
Modric has been with Madrid since 2012 and is fast closing in on 200 appearances for the club, having been a mainstay in the side under Jose Mourinho, Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez and Zinedine Zidane.